Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake

The April 2009 Daring Bakers challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I love cheesecake- when it's done right.  I really do.  There is something sensuous and comforting about the  rich, cooling creaminess that other desserts just don't do.  When it's done badly, that's another story.  When done badly- runny, dry, overly sweet, or grainy, there is no saving it with toppings or sauce.  I also find cheesecake to be super easy to make and improvise with once you master a few key concepts: use a good amount of cream cheese, bake the crust, use a water bath, and always let it cool in the oven.  

Regular readers may know that I'm trying to cook on the lighter side of things these days.  My go-to cheesecake recipe  (which is amazing, if I do say so myself) is not light.  by any means. Let's be honest, most cheesecakes aren't, but I did my best to lighten this up without compromising texture and flavor. I for one think fat free cream cheese comes from the devil, so I kept it to a minimum in this adaptation.  While you could tell the difference between a full fat cheesecake in a side by side comparison, when this stands alone you won't feel cheated. 
Since I made this for Easter, I thought I should dress it up a bit with a mirror top.  It helped boost the mango flavor, too.

Mango-lime ginger cheesecake: (low fat)
adapted from Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature ( I used 2 bricks of low-fat, 1 on fat free)
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3/4 c egg substitute
1 cup / 8 oz fat free evaporated milk
juice of one lime

one small mango, pureed

2 tbs of ginger

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

For the mirror top:

1 1/2 c mango juice

1 tbs powdered gelatin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside. ( recommend baking this at 350 for 10 minutes or so- I did not do this on the cheesecake we had at easter, I think it needs to be prebaked as to not be gummy)

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add egg substitute , 1/4 c at a time at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each addition. Add milk, vanilla, lime juice, mango puree and ginger and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

While cheesecake is chilling, heat mango juice in a small pan. Mix in a small bowl with gelatin. Place bowl over an ice bath to cool until gelatin is a bit thicker and syrupy. Pour 1/16 inch of the juice mixture over the top of the cheesecake and chill to set.


Little Miss Cupcake said...

I love the way the mango topping looks. So smooth and elegant. Great job!

Marye said...

it sounds like an amazing combination and the mirror top is fantastic!

Hilary said...

That top is absolutely beautiful!

pinkstripes said...

Mango-lime-ginger sounds amazing! It looks beautiful.

giz said...

I should have had you make my cheesecake :)...we were on similar wave lengths. It was a fun challenge. Looking forward to the bake sale :)

Engineer Baker said...

The mango mirror is just stunning! One of these days I'm going to try that technique...

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love the mirror topping =D.

Molly Loves Paris said...

Mango and ginger sounds so refreshing. And you cake is beautiful!

TeaLady said...

That is beautiful. Mango. Great choice.

Debyi said...

Oh my goodness, mango, lime, ginger all in a cheesecake! I've gone to dessert heaven. Great job, your mirror is amazing.

Jenny said...

The mango mirror really adds a beautiful touch to your cheesecake, and it was interesting to read how you've lightened it. So how did it taste? Thanks for being a part of the challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes